Sport Hurling

Sunday 25 February 2018

Plunkett: We want to top qualifier group

Laois manager Seamus Plunkett
Laois manager Seamus Plunkett
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

AS LAOIS step up to face Carlow in a midlands hurling derby tomorrow, manager Seamus 'Cheddar' Plunkett has made no secret that they want to top the Leinster qualifying group.

Some would argue that is because the group winners will face Wexford in the quarter-finals and not Galway, but Plunkett says that's not their way of thinking.

"We will be going to top the league, not because we want to choose Wexford over Galway, but because we want to keep momentum behind us," he said.

In the past 18 months Plunkett has managed to unite Laois' best hurlers and, after a good 1B campaign, they gave Clare a right rattle in the league quarter-finals.

"We have learned an awful lot from the Limericks, Clares and Corks in terms of the pace we need to get to, and we have a good bit to go yet," he said, before their second game in Leinster's new-look qualifying system.

They had hoped to hit the ground running against Westmeath last week, but didn't pull clear until the final quarter.

He points out: "the Niall O'Briens and Eoin Prices would get on any team and its difficult to break them down on their own ground."

Now come Carlow, who, with just a point from two games, need to win to stay in the race.

Brian Stapleton, who received stitches in his head last week, is fit to start and John A Delaney returns at corner-back for Darren Maher in Laois' only change.

Laois (SHC v Carlow) – E Reilly; J A Delaney, B Campion,

B Stapleton; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, D Palmer; C Dunne,

P Whelan; J Purcell, W Hyland, S Maher; N Foyle, R King,

T Fitzgerald.

Irish Independent

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